Book Event: An Orchid Sari by Cynthia Claus

7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Cynthia will read from her memoir An Orchid Sari, sign books for attendees, and have on display the orchid sari and the matching blouse. (The 2-and-a-half-year-old who traveled to India with Cynthia and her then-husband in 1968 will also be present…as a 52-year-old man.)

In 1968, Cynthia, an American mother, and Suresh, an Indian father, accompanied by their two-year-old son, Ajay, travelled to India to present themselves to Suresh’s relatives for the first time. Cynthia faithfully captures in her personal diary all that she experiences and her honest reactions to it. From impossible toilet situations to mysterious family relationships; from snake-charmers to fire-breathers; from soul-crushing bureaucracy to fouled-up reservations; and from beggars with matted hair to the Taj Mahal, Cynthia takes us on her adventure while gamely keeping her son entertained and out of danger in a society that is like nothing she could have imagined.


“I felt like I had a peek at a different land and time without any judgments or interpretations from the author.” ~ John Duey

“…Cynthia Claus … takes the reader on a journey through cultural differences. We learn of the process of adapting to the Indian culture, including the amazing primitive toilet procedure. There was one sad scene of beggars, some of them children, contrasted by marvels of India. … In reading An Orchid Sari, I learned things about India I never knew and had my mind refreshed of things I had known and forgotten.” ~ Bill Delamar, author of The Hidden Congregation

“It is quite lyrical for a travelogue that spans many weeks, disparate experiences, and both joy and consternation (don’t miss the toilet scene aboard an Indian train). Cynthia…projects a voice that makes so many of the experiences seem immediate and even familiar in the sense of a shared humanity with a culture very different from ours. The pictures are terrific. This is a captivating read.” ~ Tom Ott

Unitarian Society of Germantown Sanctuary

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